Burt Munro Challenge
Christchurch rider Ryan Hampton conquered Bluff Hill for a fourth straight year as the Burt Munro Challenge got under way yesterday.
Hampton claimed open class honours in the New Zealand hill climb championships, breaking his own course record with his first official timed run of the day.
It was a confident start for Hampton, who has also won the Wyndham Street Race for the past three years and will celebrate his 25th birthday there on Sunday.
"We managed to blitz the record; I'm pretty happy with that. It was my first official timed run that I did the quick one. I've got no idea what the second one was, but I know it was slower. I wasn't pushing, I'd done what I needed to and I've got the rest of the week to race."
Hampton was happy with his performance on the course, which is a short but testing one for the riders.
"I'm certainly pretty happy. It's one of the those tracks that you can never really get the bike to feel like it's great everywhere. I basically didn't touch any of the settings on my bike from the Ruapuna club champs that we had. I just literally rolled it out of the trailer ... and everything performed as great as I'd expected it too."
While some competitors talked about the surface becoming soft due to the hot sun yesterday, Hampton had no issues with the road, other than one testing corner.
"Turn three, I'm not sure if it's a creek on the side of the road or a crack with water seeping through the road, it seems to have got a wee bit bigger this year," he said.
"It was a wee bit of a concern this year, it looked like it was going to be a bit sketchy to ride over but I had a real good look at it over two practise runs that we got. I judged where it was going to be best to ride on the road. There was quite a few accidents there with a few guys who got it wrong."
Hampton, who will back up in the Teretonga sprints tomorrow before heading to Wyndham, also hopes to ride his motocross bike in the beach racing tonight, his first attempt at the spiritual heart of the four-day Burt Munro festival.
However, a mechanical issue has left him racing against time to be ready for the event tonight.
"I was really looking forward to that, but I was changing my front sprocket and I managed to snap the front sprocket bolt off inside the counter shaft and it's about 14mm inside so I can't get to it."
Hampton has been texting several locals to try to help him get it fixed in time.
"Hopefully I can get is sussed [today]. I'm still holding out a glimmer of hope."
- The Southland Times